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The Lano Company was “cooked-up” in 2005 by Miranda Coggins, a new mom with a need for a cure. Miranda suffered from chronic chapped lips and reached for the lanolin, while breastfeeding her daughter. Feeling relief, she began creating lip balm on her kitchen stove. After trial and error, she found a formula that worked and The Lano Company was born.
Specializing in medical-grade lanolin based cosmetics; The Lano Company strives to create beautiful products with natural ingredients that nourish the body, mind and soul.
Gus: What were the biggest challenges you faced when first developing your product line and how did you overcome them?
Miranda: There were several challenges that I faced during the first few years in business that shaped our company. When The Lano Company began selling LanoLip lip balm, our first product, I was eager to gain real market share. Consequently, I entered into a verbal agreement with a major pharmacy, resulting in a catastrophic “buyback” of 20,000 unsold lip balms. Prior to the “buyback,” I had purchased 200,000 empty tubs in hopes of selling them to the pharmacy chain. This was one of my lowest points, but I learned not to get ahead of myself, even when things seemed “set in stone.” I also learned to rely solely on purchase orders rather than verbal agreements.
As The Lano Company continued to grow and branch into other product lines, I launched Pure Illumination, a line of LED-lit Lip Gloss with the same formula as our successful LanoLip lip balm. It was a huge success and the lip gloss was selling faster than we could create, fill and package it. As a result, my husband and I decided to move manufacturing from our home to an out-of-state company. We quickly discovered our mistake when 20,000 tubes of lip gloss were filled with bad lanolin – a $250,000 mistake. While the error seemed exponential, I knew The Lano Company could survive if we could quickly find a location to manufacture and package our products within the Kansas City metro. The Independence caves offered the perfect location for us to recover our losses from the out-of-state manufacturer and with the help of local workers – some found on Facebook – we were able to replace the useless inventory. Although it was tough, I learned the importance of being a self-sufficient company and manufacturing our own products rather than relying on someone else to do the job.
Gus: What was your first significant milestone?
Miranda: My first significant milestone was attending the Holiday Mart in 2006 as a vendor. The Lano Company had been in business for about a year and I shared a small booth with another new vendor in order to cut costs on rental fees. I was selling LanoLip lip balm in 2 flavors: Dreamsicle and Wintergreen. Over the four days of the Holiday Mart, I sold through 1500 lip balms. I was ecstatic. It was at that point that I realized there truly was a need for a good, healing lip balm and I knew my lanolin-based product would offer relief to customers seeking a cure.
Gus: Can you talk about what it was like to be first to market a lanolin based lip product?
Miranda: I, like so many others, suffered from chronic chapped lips my whole life and had searched for a lip balm that would heal my lips and offer relief for years. After discovering the healing qualities of lanolin while breastfeeding my daughter, I knew that I was onto something. I searched to no avail to find a lanolin-based lip balm on the market and knew when I came up empty-handed that I had to offer others the relief I had found. There has always been a need for a healing and conditioning lip balm and I am so proud to offer a product that can do just that. I always say, “Think BIG idea, but not the kind of big idea that brings a light bulb to mind, more like the kind of idea that brings fireworks to mind.” I knew I had a big idea and I wasted now time developing a way to bring my healing lip balm into the cosmetics market.
Gus: Can you talk about the importance of foraging good relationships with distributors?
Miranda: I truly believe it is imperative to develop good relationships with distributors. We offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee and strive to back up our products, even if we know we have made a mistake. Maintaining a good standing with our distributors is our number one concern. We understand the important role our distributors play in getting our products in the hands of businesses nationwide and we work hard to supply them with all the tools necessary to succeed in doing so. Consequently, we look to our distributors for guidance when releasing new products, altering packaging or displays, etc.
Gus: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Miranda: The most exciting thing on the horizon for me, as well as The Lano Company, is definitely the recent launch of our new second brand, Glam Cosmetics. I am just amazed at the success of the line just months after it hit stores and we launched the website: www.GlamCosmetics.com. There is so much excitement involved in creating something so big and then seeing its growth potential, especially when it is something different then what you are used to creating/selling/marketing. Glam Cosmetics not only markets to a different, younger audience of teens and tweens, but it sells at a lower price point that makes it a go-to stocking stuffer, small gift, etc. It is an incredible feeling to reach a larger market and myself and The Lano Company are loving the growing size of our grass roots following and ability to share our innovative products with a new audience.
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